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Dining on a student’s budget

not-junk food on a junk budget
not-junk food on a junk budget

As it turns out, it is possible!

As our A&C editor said in his pitch this week, we all want somewhere to hit up once our student loans come in. It’s definitely not a necessity, but rather a luxury to be able to afford nights out when you’re going to university. However, there is a silver lining – the fact that some restaurants recognize the struggles of us millennials.

There are some restaurants in Regina that offer student prices on their food, or their quality meals are still cheap enough that our bank accounts don’t hate us and we don’t feel crappy about ourselves the next day when we can’t afford a morning coffee from Stones Throw. While it is nice to indulge at fancy restaurants once in a blue moon, the reality of the situation is that shit’s dangerous. Lo and behold, a list of affordable holes-in-the-wall in our city! I tried to incorporate as much diversity in the menus as possible, but these are my top ten student-friendly eateries around town.

Slow Pub is La Bodega’s cheaper off-sale and pub. It’s very reasonably priced if you want to drink some beers on a budget. I know I’ve frequented this place quite a bit with my friends after class for a pint and some fish and chips. The restaurant itself, aside from being cheap and actually pretty tasty, has a really fun and interesting vibe to it. On the outside, it looks like a typical pub.

Don’t let La Bodega’s fancy name discourage you. Even if it can be on the pricier end sometimes, La Bodega does this really cool thing my inner wine mom cannot and will not resist on a Saturday night – 50% off bottles of wine! I’ve had my fair share of nights at La Bodega, all of which ended in a terrible hangover the following day, but it turned out to be worth it. A night of glasses flowing with half-off wine and on-special seafood pasta is a great way to feel fancy on a student budget.

Now, to me, the Mercury is just cool. It definitely has a 50’s aesthetic to it, and they serve the classic glass bottles of pop! How cute! My go-to meal at this establishment is the grilled cheese. Yes, technically, it’s on the kid’s menu, but they’re always willing to make exceptions. What can I say? My pallet hasn’t matured much since I was five.

Sushi, being one of my favourite foods, is always a go-to meal for me. I know when my student loans come in; the first place I’m going for lunch is Pronto. Located in the mini mall-ish building right beside McDonald’s, they offer student lunch menus, which tend to be around eleven dollars for a full sushi lunch! Not too shabby. It’s quick, easy, and right by the university. It’s a solid sushi meal on a student budget.

The Knotted Thistle is the real Irish pub in Regina, no offense to O’Hanlons. If you’re the kind who enjoys kilts covering the walls of a restaurant while Celtic music flows in the background, this is the spot for you. Some quality meals include Irish Nachos and Beef and Guinness Pie for the nights when you’re feeling hearty. My personal favourite is the Farmers Mac and Cheese, for obvious reasons.

I like to refer to Bonzzini’s as Regina’s grandpa bar, but that’s totally fine with me. It has a relaxed atmosphere, which I’m always a fan of, and you can take home a pound of pasta for dirt cheap! They also serve Bohemian…

Tandoori chicken strips. Need I say more? Tandoori and chicken strips are only some of my favourite foods in the world, next to soup, so naturally I was thrilled to see this on the Free House menu!

The formerly Lazy Owl is located in Riddell, and they serve Boh. What more could you ask for, really? It’s nice to be able to pop a squat in the campus pub and chat amongst your friends, peers, and even profs after a trying day of exams and rushed essays.

The 13th Avenue Coffee House is probably one of the most vegan friendly food establishments in the city; this place makes a killer rice bowl. The miso broth mixed with the fresh veggies and tofu is to die for.

I had to include a chain restaurant at some point. All I have to say about East Side Mario’s is, All You Can Eat Pasta Wednesdays for $11.99 a head. This also includes all you can eat salad and soup. It’s pretty decent pasta and if you don’t eat it all, you have tomorrow’s lunch to take home with you!

So, I guess what we learned on this journey today is that the staff writer eats out a lot (probably more than she should), and that you can hopefully find a new eatery to spend your student loan money on. Bon appetite!

About Hannah Grover

I'm the Arts and Culture Editor, as well as a writer when I'm not feeling lazy, outspoken feminist, and self-appointed cat queen.